Alaska – Up to Denali

Denali - horseshoe lake

Up and out to get the trail to Denali.

The Alaska railroad runs from Seward at the southern tip of Alaska to Fairbanks and beyond. Today, I rode the train for almost eight hours from Anchorage to Delani National Park. I love trains – I can look at the scenery, walk the aisles, spread out, read and even close my eyes. What mode of transportation allows all those options?

Alaska railroadThe Alaska railroad services both passengers and freight. It has several cars, economy and first class. The first class sits up high with glassed-in dome, for better visibility. But with the economy class, we can go up to our own glassed domed car. In addition, tour operators, like Holland-America cruise lines, hitch their train cars to the Alaska railroad. They wouldn’t want to mingle with the likes of us, would they?

A train hostess, Lisa, kept a running commentary of what we were seeing along with a little Alaska history. She told a little of her young life. She was 19 and spent most of it in Alaska.  She loved this job and was so enthusiastic about it. I asked her what she does in the winter.

“Whatever comes up. I’m like a bird. I go with the wind.”

Denali - hurricane gulchTo the left is Hurricane Gulch, one of the many trail sights. Finally at about 4 P.M., we reach the train depot at Denali but we are not technically in the Park. 

We got back to the Visitor Center as soon as we could after checking in. All the lodges and other services are “downtown”, a strip that they call Glitter Gulch. It’s more tacky than Gatlinbug, TN because they have to make their money in four months.

We had time to take a short walk to Horseshoe Lake (above) and check out the bookstore. Tomorrow, we go to Camp Denali.

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